Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)

Least Concern

Black-tailed Crake (Zapornia bicolor)


French: Marouette bicolore German: Zweifarb-Sumpfhuhn Spanish: Polluela bicolor

Porzana bicolor


, 1872,

Rungbee, Darjeeling, India


Sometimes retained in Porzana or placed in genus Amaurornis. Monotypic.


E Nepal, Bhutan, NE India and Myanmar E to SC China (S Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan), and S to N Thailand, N Laos and NW Vietnam.

Descriptive notes

20–22 cm. Rufous-brown upperparts contrast with ash-grey head, neck and underparts; tail black; bill pale bluish green with pale tip and red patch near base; iris blood... read more


Song has initial rasping “waak-waak” call, followed by long descending trill, with... read more


Forest patches in and around rice cultivation; swampy patches and streams in forest; grass-bordered... read more

Food and feeding

Worms, molluscs, insects, and seeds of marsh plants. Recorded feeding with rapid pecking motion, wings drooped, tail cocked and frequently... read more


Mid-May to Aug in Khasi Hills, SC Meghalaya (NE India); two adults with three young in early Aug at Doi Inthanon (NW Thailand). Monogamous... read more


Resident, but to date recorded as occurring in N Vietnam and Laos only in winter; extent of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Infrequently recorded because of its skulking habits, but formerly regarded as locally common. Several recent records (since mid-... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B. (2020). Black-tailed Crake (Zapornia bicolor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 February 2020).